Eddie Murphy As Oscars Host: He’s A ‘Film Historian,’ Says Brett Ratner

Eddie Murphy’s hosting the Oscars next year, and as happy as I am about the news, I can’t say I’m at all surprised by it.

I had the chance to chat with “Tower Heist” director Brett Ratner for MTV News’ Fall Movie Preview week, and the filmmaker had nothing but rave reviews for Murphy’s work in the heist comedy. (You can read all of his comments in my interview here.)

While we were talking, Ratner — who is executive producer of the 84th Annual Academy Awards — teased about his future collaborations with Murphy: “’Tower Heist,’ just like [my previous] movies were great preparation for me to make this movie, this is preparation for me to do something huge with Eddie.”

The Oscars certainly qualify as something huge, I’d say, and based on something else that Ratner told me, it’s pretty clear why he named the “Beverly Hills Cop” legend as his host.

“Eddie’s not just a comedic genius. He’s more of a film historian and a student of cinema than I am or anybody out there,” Ratner said of Murphy’s film expertise, which one imagines played a big role in his selection as next year’s Oscar host. “I can name any movie, it doesn’t matter what era, and he will instantly quote lines from every movie. He’s a brilliant mimic as you know; he’ll play characters of every movie that I can come up with. He’s such a fan of the movie business and movies and movie stars, all of that, is just exciting to him. To have hours and hours of debates about actors and his stories, especially with Richard Pryor, are some of the greatest stories I’ve ever heard.”

Here’s hoping we’ll hear more than a few of those greatest stories come Oscar night next year. For his own part, Ratner told me that his big goal in producing next year’s Academy Awards all comes down to two things: escapism, and laughter.

“What the Oscars do is make the Hollywood fantasy seem accessible, at least for that night,” he said. “Those few hours, I think the [show] gives the viewers a chance to escape their reality. Times are incredibly bleak right now, unemployment is incredibly high right now … hope is really all that people want now, as well as great entertainment. I think people really want to laugh. My whole mantra is that comedy is the key here, and I think the world is waiting for a show to embrace and enjoy. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to attempt to do this and to bring this.”

Click here to read what Brett Ratner had to say about “Tower Heist,” hitting theaters this November.

Are you excited for Eddie Murphy to be hosting the Oscars? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!